Outliers: The Story of Success
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Outliers: The Story of Success

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  204,165 ratings  ·  13,493 reviews
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published May 2009 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Rebecca
Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task. He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort. It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things (like glazing pottery, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and sewing... to name a few). I kept thinking, "I've just got to put in more hours if I want to do better."

While I can see a different way of spinning the data provided to support Gl...more
Trevor
I know, you don’t think you have the time and there are other and more important books to read at the moment, but be warned, you do need to read this book.

There are a number of ways I can tell a book will be good; one of those ways is if Graham has recommended it to me (how am I going to cope without our lunches together, mate?). And there is basically one way for me to I know that I’ve really enjoyed a book, and that is if I keep telling people about it over and over again. Well, not since Pred...more
Allie
Didn't exactly read this book - Joe and I listened to it in the car on the way home from visiting family for Christmas. I really enjoyed it, and was very fascinated by certain parts of it, especially the sections about the Beatles, computer programmers and Korean co-pilots.

But my enjoyment of the book was marred by the glaring absence of any well-known female "outliers." By chapter four or so, I noticed it and mentioned it to Joe, and then it just kept getting worse to the point that it was comi...more
Dave
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan
Here's what I wrote earlier. I have to admit to the more I think and talk about the book, the less I think of it. It all seems too superficial.

A pretty interesting book, albeit with not quite as many "knock me over with a feather" moments as Blink. It starts off with a bang, as he discusses amateur hockey teams and how it was noticed that virtually all the players on an Under-18 hockey team came from the first three months of the year. Turns out the age cutoff is January 1 in Canada, so the olde...more
Steve
Occasionally insightful, but Gladwell's science is pretty junky. His reasons for success change by the page. And he cherry-picks examples to exactly fit the scheme under consideration. Plus, he's obsessed with callbacks and summary statements that only showcase the faulty connections between ideas.
Eric
I can save you the trouble of reading the book: smart people don't automatically become successful, they do so because they got lucky. This rule applies to everyone including the likes of Bill Gates and Robert Oppenheimer. That's it. That's what the whole book is about. Gladwell looks at case after case of this: Canadian hockey players, Korean airline pilots, poor kids in the Bronx, Jewish lawyers, etc... Even with all this evidence it feels like he's pulling in examples that fit his theory and...more
Jason
I skimmed this book instead of reading it. I didn’t entirely love it.

Although the author makes some interesting points, I find some of the correlations he tries to draw a little silly. Like the Italian community in Pennsylvania where people are healthier and live longer because they have a sense of “community” or the fact that Southerners react more violently to certain situations than Northerners because they derive from a “culture of honor.” Sounds like extrapolated horseshit to me, especially...more
Adam
People are criticizing this book because it is not a journal article. Well guess what: we're not all sociologists. I have read plenty of journal articles in my own field (law). I'm in no position to read journal articles in fields outside my own. Having a well-written piece of mass-market writing is just the thing I need to access this information.

Another criticism of the book is that Gladwell is the "master of the anecdote." Well, it seems to me that ALL SOCIAL SCIENCE is in some sense anecdota...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
Outliers. Or as it should be called, "Outliers don't exist." I not only couldn't put it down, but my wife feels like she's read it now too.

It starts with a story about a town whose inhabitants only ever die from old age (i.e., not from cancer or ANY OTHER problem) and quickly goes into a story about hockey players in Canada.

For some reason the best hockey players are born in January through March and rarely any time after. The reason - it's all because of the date of the cut-off for playing hoc...more
Bill  Kerwin

When I think about Malcolm Gladwell, the first phrase that comes to mind is "less than meets the eye."

At first glance, his work seems thoroughly researched, even visionary at times. Beginning with a few maverick, counter-intuitive insights, he often ends with an affirmation of consensus, but it is a consensus that has been broadened by investigation and enriched by nuance.

On second look, however, I'm no longer sure any of this is true. What first appeared to be new insights are nothing but fami...more
Claudia
Mar 20, 2009 Claudia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: all non-fiction fans
Recommended to Claudia by: Bob and Shirley
Shelves: nonfiction
"Outliers" those wildly successful people, for whom 'normal rules don't apply.' Are they just lucky, talented? Maybe...but, outliers may not be outliers after all...after reading the entire book, I was slapped by that at the very end. Gladwell looks closely at success, and those who seem to have waltzed into incredible success...Canadian hockey players, who just happened to have been born in the right month of the year; Bill Gates, who just happened to go to a school where the PTA moms bought a...more
Ben
Dec 28, 2008 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: those interested in sociology or the oustide factors involved with success.
Shelves: sociology
This is not a feeling oriented review like those that seem to be getting esteem here. While this is a well-researched and easily readable book that makes some interesting points, most of its contents are pure common sense.

In a world so highly populated with such strong inequities, of course there will be a lot of luck and chance involved with how someone turns out, aside from those that result from innate ability. You already knew that, right? So, shouldn't specific ideas and remedies be offere...more
Hank Mishkoff
Well, it's official: Malcolm Gladwell has run out of things to say.

His prose is still lively and entertaining, and he maintains his famous I-look-at-things-differently-than-anyone-else attitude, but "Outliers" has so little meat that it would have more appropriately been published as a magazine article.

I think that the main value of reading Gladwell is that he plants a seed in your brain that encourages you to seek unconventional explanations for familiar phenomena. That's a very healthy thing,...more
Kressel Housman
This has got to be Malcolm Gladwell’s best book yet, and coming from a fan like me, that’s saying something!

As the subtitle states, this is a book of success stories, and true to his usual style, Gladwell draws on a diverse and interesting set of examples and presents a unique thesis on the ingredients it takes to make a person a success. The first half of the equation is much like Carol Dweck’s thesis in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success . Hard work matters much more than raw talent. In t...more
أشرف فقيه
لنتخيل معاً رسمة بيانية.. تتبعثر القيم على سطحها. لنتخيل أن معظم هذه القيم متمركزة معاً في منطقة ما من الرسمة، ولنتصور أيضاً قيماً أخرى قليلة مبعثرة بعيداً عن زميلاتها.. محلقة بعيداً عن الأغلبية.
في علم الإحصاء، فإن هذه النقاط أو القيم البعيدة تسمى قيماً شاذة أو متطرفة –Outliers باللغة الإنجليزية- والكلمة تطلق كذلك على كل ماهو خارج السياق الطبيعي ضمن مجموعته. تلك هي التسمية التي اختارها (مالكوم غلادويل) لكتابه والذي حقق شهرة مدوية وتصدر لائحة المبيعات خلال العام الماضي.
يقول (غلادويل) أن كتابه يهد...more
Miriam
A completely fascinating account of why some people succeed and some don't--from when a person is born to the number of hours they go to school to circumstance. This will be of interest to anyone who is thinking about when to start their kids in school, people interested in education policy, ok, everybody. But I'm DEFINITELY sending one to my dad who was an elementary school principal and now is a mentor to principals. The stuff about how schools in the US are run and how just changing how vacat...more
Sarah
I listened to the unabridged copy while driving to/from Thanksgiving. Gladwell's books are often controversial because he tends to present only one side -- HIS side -- of an argument and gloss over anything that doesn't jive with his view. That said, the guy knows how to write and how to tell a story. His examples of why our success may be due to random uncontrollable factors like birthdate, family upbrining, and cultural background never fail to make me think "huh...that's interesting!"
Riku Sayuj
My first exposure to Gladwell. SO was more or les blown away by the ideas. Have grown more conservative in acceptance of his views as I have grown familiar with his topics through other books. But still an eminently quotable book.
Ruth
I'd heard about this book, so when it came in the library the other day, I cracked it open to see what it was like. I couldn't put it down. I checked it out, jumping the line (librarian's priviledge!), and proceeded to devour it.

It reminded me very much of "Freakonomics", as Gladwell analyzed what made rich and successful people rich and successful. He dismissed the idea of an "overnight success", showing that anyone could become expert at anything, from piano to computer programming, if they j...more
Chloe
Malcolm, meet Fonzie. Fonzie, Malcolm. I think you two will get along well together now that you’ve both jumped the shark. I never wanted to introduce the two of them, but I sort of feel obligated to after reading Outliers. In this, his third book, Gladwell stretches his sociological study of all things common sense to its ultimate breaking point. The cover touts the book as an answer to the long-standing question that thousands have tried to answer before him: why is it that some people succeed...more
Stela
I must say I liked The Tipping Point more. Maybe because the main theory of this book, that there are many factors which influence a person or an event, such as a cultural, geographical, linguistic etc. environment, is not a new one - a 20-century Romanian philosopher, Lucian Blaga, had named it the stylistic matrix of a nation and considered it the principal distinction between people from different regions of the Earth. Personal talent is added to this subconscious matrix in order to create th...more
Malbadeen
Love him or hate him - whatever. The more I read of his stuff the more I am fascinated by what he does. I think it is so interesting how we can make up a theory and pretty much ascribe all happenings around us as proof that that theory is correct. I do it all the time. My whole family does it, it's how we converse. I think more people do it than are willing to admit and if you read Gladwell with that in mind it is easier to not get so worked up about that fact that he is espousing ideas rather t...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
More pop science from Gladwell. The premise is people need more than talent to succeed, they need opportunity. Everything from when you were born, your ethnic background, and your economic status can affect your chances to succeed in life.
Gladwell gives us one anecdotal example after another, and it's interesting, but hard to put into use. So, all the big Silicon Valley computer heads were born within a certain range of years. What do I DO with that?
On the other hand, the fact that even with acc...more
Hanne
Over the past week, I’ve started half a dozen sentences with “I’m reading this book by Malcolm Gladwell and …”. That’s immediately a big thumbs up for me because it implies that this book gave me everything I want from a non-fiction book: to teach me something new and interesting, but also to give me something to think and talk about.
With Blink and The Tipping Point, Michael Gladwell already wrote a few books I really enjoyed reading, and this one definitely strikes gold once again.

Outliers sta...more
Kevin
I picked up this book on a whim not knowing anything about it and was captivated by the subject and writing. Malcolm Gladwell explains in an academic yet simple way how seemingly "self-made" superstars in business, sports and life are actually the result of hard work, incredible opportunities, culture and timing. From Mozart to the Beatles to Bill Gates to hockey superstars he builds a case for this very theory. Surprisingly fun and a fast read, this book prompts much thought and discussion invo...more
Jane Stewart
4 ½ stars. I was amazed and surprised at what I learned about what makes people successful. And it’s entertaining.

I wish I had read this years ago when my children were toddlers. I might have changed some things in how I raised them, not a lot of things, but some decisions might have been different. For example, I might have had them do more academic work in the summers, and felt less guilty about it. But aside from parenting, wow, this is fascinating stuff.

The author is a good story teller. He...more
Marcus
This book is excellent. It's fascinating, insightful, sometimes even shocking and always entertaining. If you don't read it, you're really missing out on some great research and writing.

Why four stars? In my less-than-humble opinion this book, or rather this author, has the same problem as other books I've read by smart, insightful authors, I agree with their research methods and findings and even most of their conclusions, then they step into the realm of political or economic policy and I go n...more
Lars Guthrie
Gladwell just gets better for me, going from a general topic of general interest--when a cultural trend takes hold ('The Tipping Point')--to a general topic with a more specific focus that factors into my work with children--the way the brain makes a value judgement ('Blink')--to a specific topic that specifically affects my work--how one's personal history and culture can determine success ('Outliers'). He effectively puts the kibosh on a myth that has particular resonance for Americans--that w...more
Duffy Pratt
Gladwell's basic argument is that people can't pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and that everyone who is successful had some help, and some luck, along the way. Despite Rush Limbaugh's outrage earlier this year when Obama said pretty much the same thing, I don't think that this is a very challenging or distrubing idea. If that was all there was to it, I wouldn't have liked this book at all. But I did like it, mostly because I found quite a bit of fun in the details.

What goes into succ...more
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Sumner C Period: Blogs 1-5 1 2 Apr 13, 2014 04:19PM  
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Rossetti Semester...: Internal Conflict 4 6 Mar 06, 2014 09:56PM  
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Malcolm Gladwell is a United Kingdom-born, Canadian-raised journalist now based in New York City. He is a former business and science writer at the Washington Post. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He is best known as the author of the books The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers...more
More about Malcolm Gladwell...
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses: Part Two from What the Dog Saw

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“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” 466 likes
“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.” 182 likes
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